The Fight Machine @ Fantasia Film Festival

Two people from different backgrounds seem to be linked. This is a tale as old as time. This time we have underground fighting thrown in for good measure…or at least a plot point. Based on a novel by Craig Davidson (Rust and Bone), the film, directed and co-written by Andrew Thomas Hunt (Spare Parts, Sweet Karma), features plenty of bare-knuckle violence but at its heart, it is a character study.

Because his father is a rich man, Paul Harris (Greg Hovanessian – from television’s The Mist) lives a privileged life. Growing up on the other side of the proverbial tracks, blue collar Rob Tully (Dempsey Bryk – from television’s Heartland) decides to become a fighter as his father (Greg Bryk – Saw V, A History of Violence) and uncle Tom (Noah Dalton Danby – Riddick, Detroit Rock City) believe him to have the talent to be successful. Paul wants in while Rob wants out. Both are forging off in life to make their way and it seems like their paths are going to cross. Where that is in the ring of an underground fight club where there are no rules.

Great fight choreography. This is what elevates this film from one teetering on the edge of predictability. It pretty much looks like a ballet featuring bone crunching hooks and powerful jabs. The two leads look natural as fighters so it does not come as a shock when you discover they are trained martial artist and boxer. Realism reigns in the fight sequences whether they take place in the ring or on the street in front of a bar.

In regards to the story, it is intriguing to watch, within the same world, one who is wishing nothing more than to escape it while the other craves to be a part of it. A tale of wanting what we cannot have. Two young men want to carve out their own paths and not tread the one set out in front of them by their fathers. We can all relate to this as we all question who we are and what we want to become. Finding something we are passionate about is the ultimate quest.

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